Subscribe to watch - 14-day free trial, then £4.99 a month

Island of the Hungry Ghosts 12 rating

A therapist helps traumatised refugees detained on a remote island where powerful natural and tribal rituals prevail, in this extraordinary mix of fact and fiction.

Documentary 2018 98 mins

Director: Gabrielle Brady

CC

Overview

Poh Lin is a trauma counsellor living on the remote Christmas Island with her young family. Poh Lin’s job is to work with people trying to seek asylum to Australia who have been detained in a high security detention facility, deep within the island's jungle. The island is one of the last discovered places on earth, with humans having migrated to its shores less than a century ago. The original inhabitants are the forty million land crabs. Pulled by the force of the full moon they begin their epic odyssey from the island’s jungle to its rugged coastline.

As Poh Lin and her family explore the island’s powerful and threatening landscape, a disquieting sensation grows. Local islanders carry out their ‘hungry ghost’ rituals for the spirits of those who died on the island without a proper burial. They make offerings to appease the lost souls, who are said to be wandering the jungles at night without a home. In the intimacy of her therapy sessions, Poh Lin feels the oncoming dystopia, as the mental state of her clients begin to unravel.

Accessibility